Brown Commons

Non-human brownness is only partially knowable to us through the screen of human perception but then everything I’m describing as being brown is only partially knowable. To think about brownness is to accept that it arrives to us; we attune to it only partially, pieces resist knowing and being knowable. At best we can be attuned to what brownness does in the world, the performativity of brownness, and the sense of the world such performances engender. But we know that some humans are brown and they feel differently. Things are brown in that they radiate a different kind of affect. Affect as I’m employing it in this project is meant to address a feeling of being in common as it is transmitted across people place space. Brown affect transverses the rhythmic spacings between those singularities that compose the plurality of the commons.

Brown commons are queer ecologies that are not dependent on nature - which does not mean that they exclude nature; not only the shared experience of harm between people and things the potential for the refusal and the resistance that often systemic harm; a kind of uncanny persistence in the face of distressed conditions of possibility.

The Onto-materialist mapping of brownness and a brown commons that my project is putting forth is not meant to displace more traditional and even realist mappings of politics my aim is instead calibrated to supplement those models with an attunement meant to measure the immeasurable between us, the calculate the incalculability of the singularities that never collapse between us but nevertheless touch.

~ Jose Esteben Munoz

Kyla Tompkins